Each year the Rockford Community Endowment recognizes a few special people for their life-long contribution to the community. This year’s inductees to the Peppler Park Recognition Plaza were all posthumous awards. Submitted by Cannon Township, this is the biography of Fire Chief Harry Morris, Jr.
Life of Harry Morris Jr.
Fire Chief Harry Morris, affectionately known as “Junior” was Cannon Township’s fire chief for 39 years before he died in January 2009. He served the community of Cannon Township in the fire service for 55 years and was named fire chief on April 14, 1970.
Morris was born May 12, 1925 in Cannon Township, the son of Harry and Mary (Byrne) Morris. He worked the family farm along with his daughters and sons. With his son Jim (the current fire chief) they operated the only active dairy farm in Cannon Township.
Throughout his storied career, the Cannon Fire Department underwent many transitions. In the beginning, the two-stall station built by volunteers, donations and a sense of duty to the community, helped serve the tiny community. As the township grew so did the sense of duty and safety to the residents of Cannon Township community and nearby communities. He was the driving force that incorporated EMS service into the fire department.
Cannon Township Fire Department has become one of the most respected and successful departments in the region and a point of pride for all of Cannon Township.
On June 19, 2004 a dedication ceremony was held to rename the Cannon Township Fire Station No. 1 in his honor to recognize Chief Morris’s 50 years service to the township.
His wife Partricia (Scheidel) the love of his life, died on January 12, 1984. Together they had nine children, all of whom still live in the area. He has 23 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
His progressive style and dedication to the people of Cannon Township is dearly missed by his community and fellow firefighters.